Laserblast: Inland Empire, Fracture, Vacancy

Unlike last week, which was thin on science-fiction, fantasy, and horror film DVD releases, today sees a veritable deluge. Only a handful are new titles; most are anniversary versions, collector’s editions, and/or box sets repackaging two or three previously available titles.
David Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE is one of the most confounding films of the writer-director’s career, and that is truly saying something. The basic premise sounds like a fairly straight-forward mystery-horror film: Laura Dern plays an actress hired to play a role in the movie (directed by Jeremy Irons). It turns out that the project is a remake of a previous film that was never completed, due to mysterious mishaps. Is the film cursed? Will lightening strike twice? Are Dern and her fellow film-makers doomed to recreate the previous disaster?
Instead of seeking answers to these questions, Lynch interrupts the narrative for a series of increasingly bizarre tangential diversions, sometimes involving people in bunny masks who seem to be performing some kind of sit-com, at other times involving apparently unreleated characters whose actions parallel the main narrative (are they the actors from the unfinished film – or scenes from the unfinished film itself?). Increasingly, the lines blur between fiction and reality, until it becomes hard to say exactly what is happening.
At three hours in length, INLAND EMPIRE demands a great deal of endurance from loyal Lynch fans, but the results it yields suffer from the law of diminishing returns. Even so, just when you are ready to give up, great moments do arise to repay you for your patience. There is a hysterical and completely non-sensical dance routine set to “Loco-Motion.” Even better is Dern’s long soliloquy in which she recounts the violent counter-attack she launched against a would-be rapist (“He got to reapin’ what he been sowin’,” she explains, adding that the paramedics who saw the damage she inflicted replied, “He must have been sowing some serious shit!”
The DVD contains these bonus features:

  • 90 minutes of Deleted Scenes
  • The short film “Ballerina”
  • Behind the scenes with David Lynch
  • Talks with Lynch and Laura Dern
  • More Things that Happened (Additional Character Experiences)
  • 3 theatrical trailers
  • Stills Gallery
  • David Lynch cooks Quinoa

FRACTURE is a dark-hued thriller that came and went from theatres with lightening speed earlier this year. Judged simply by the mechanics of the plot (which are manipulative and unconvincing), the high-speed trip to video was thoroughly warranted. However, the character interplay between the protagonist and the antagonist (played by Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins, respective) largely redeems the proceedings, thanks to solid performances and good dialogue. The film is available on a Widescreen DVD (pictured above) and a Full Screen DVD.

 VACANCY is another thriller that made a faster than expected exit from theatres. It has a good premise for a horror films: a couple takes a short cut on a deserted road; their car breaks down; and they spend the night in a dingy motel, where they find videos of the previous tenants being brutally murdered. The sense of paranoia and isolation is very well maintained, but the movie cops out with a phony happy ending that was obviously changed from the script. The film is available on DVD (pictured above) and on Blu-ray disc.

Scroll through the items below to see the rest of this week’s DVD releases.

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